Center Administration

Dr. Atorod Azizinamini, P.E.
Director, Florida International University

Professor of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at FIU, has led several major multi-disciplinary bridge engineering related initiatives. He is a founder of two major transportation field organizations: the National Bridge Research Organization at University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Center for Accelerated Bridge Construction at Florida International University.

He has provided significant service and contributions to the field of bridge engineering. As chairman of ASCE Bridge Technical Administrative Committee (Bridge TAC), he had the responsibility of overseeing eight ASCE bridge committees. He helped to organize and Co-Chaired the FHWA Bridge Engineering conferences in 2010 (Orlando, FL), 2008 (Baltimore, MD), 2005 (San Diego, CA), 2004 (San Antonio, TX), 2002, (Salt Lake City, UT) and 2000 (Baltimore, MD).

He holds several patents in bridge engineering and developed and successfully assisted in the commercialization of Folded Plate Girder Technologies. He has received several noteworthy major competitive grants, including the $2M SHRP2 R19A project, which led to development of the first comprehensive document devoted to Service Life Design of Bridges. He has published more than 200 technical papers in the structural engineering and transportation fields.

He has produced more than 50 graduate students at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels. He has received a number of awards and honors, including the 2011 AISC Special Achievement Award. He has taught more than 40 short courses on the design and construction of super- and sub-structures to practicing bridge professionals.


Dr. Mohammed Hadi, P.E.
Co-Director, Florida International University

Dr. Hadi, an associate professor at FIU, has about 30 years of experience in transportation engineering (10 years in the private sector and the rest in academic and research institutions). His experience has been in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), performance measurements, benefit-cost analysis, data archiving and mining, transportation planning, and traffic operations.

In the past 5 years, Dr. Hadi has been the principal investigator on FDOT, USDOT, and SHRP 2 projects with a total budget of more than $2.5 Million dollars. These projects have resulted in the development of several tools for data capture; archiving and analysis; performance measurement; advanced strategy benefit analysis; decision support system development; and traffic modeling.

Dr. Hadi is a member and the research coordinator of the TRB Traffic Flow Theory and Characteristics Committee and the TRB Intelligent Transportation Systems Committee. He is also the chair of ITS America Research and Benefit-Cost Committees. He is the chair of the TRB Joint Simulation subcommittee research task group, and a member of ITS Florida Board of Directors.


Mary Lou Ralls, P.E.
Director of Technology Transfer, Florida International University

Ms. Ralls is principal of Ralls Newman, LLC, a structural engineering consulting firm in Austin, Texas. Ralls joined the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in 1984. In 1999 she became the State Bridge Engineer and Director of the Bridge Division. Under her direction, the division oversaw and provided assistance in program and project development; structural and geotechnical design; standards and plan development; plans, specifications, and estimates review; safety inspection including in-house fracture critical and underwater inspections; and bridge construction and maintenance support to the 25 districts for the 50,000 on-system and off-system bridges in the state.

Ralls retired from TxDOT in 2004. As a member of the consultant support team for the FHWA Highways for LIFE Program, she has developed Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) project descriptions, fact sheets, and other resource materials to advance the implementation of ABC. As a member of the FIU ABC Center’s executive board and steering committee, she assists with the development and coordination of the monthly webinars. She has coordinated, moderated, and facilitated ABC workshops for various bridge owners.

She was a member of SHRP2’s Renewal Technical Coordinating Committee and several of its Expert Task Groups and the Committee for SHRP2 Implementation Report to Congress. She is active in various engineering organizations and has authored a number of publications on innovative bridge technologies. Ralls holds an MS in Engineering, Structures, and a BS in Civil Engineering with Highest Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas.


Dr. Terry J. Wipf, P.E.
Co-Director, Iowa State University

Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at ISU, has made significant contributions to bridge engineering over the past 25 years. He has made major contributions in the development and refinement of AASHTO specifications for the treatment of dynamic loads on highway bridges. Dr. Wipf is an internationally known expert in the area of bridge maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation.

His work has been featured in several NCHRP publications. Wipf served as the Director of the Bridge Engineering Center at Iowa State University from 1995 to 2011 and focused on research, education and technical transfer. He has more than 200 technical journal and conference papers related to bridge engineering. Wipf taught more than 25 short courses and workshop topics related to bridge engineering to the practicing bridge engineering community. Dr. Wipf has maintained a significant graduate research program for more than 30 years that focuses on bridge engineering, including multiple NCHRP funded bridge projects. He has graduated approximately 100 MS and PhD students, supervised multiple postdoctoral candidates, and collaborated with visiting professors.


Dr. Brent M. Phares, P.E.
Co-Director, Iowa State University

Dr. Phares is expert in the field of bridge evaluation – especially with the use of advanced technologies and tools – and in the application of ABC practices. He was a consultant to the FHWA and was the Chief Research Engineer at the FHWA NDE Validation Center. Currently, Phares serves as the Director of the Bridge Engineering Center at Iowa State University. He is also the Co-Director of the National Center for Wood Transportation Structures and is the Associate Director of the Iowa State University Institute for Transportation.

He is author or co-author more than 120 technical publications in structural engineering. Dr. Phares has started/owned five private companies since 2001 – all related to technological evaluation of civil infrastructure. He is currently serving as the major professor of two Ph.D. graduate students, 12 M.S. graduate students, and one postdoctoral research associate. Since 2001, Dr. Phares has been PI or Co-PI on an average of $2.5M/year of competitive research awards.


Dr. Saiid Saiidi, P.E.
Co-Director, University of Nevada-Reno

Dr. Saiidi is Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at University of Nevada-Reno (UNR) and also the Director of Center for Advanced Technology in Bridges and Infrastructure at UNR. He was the chairman of the CEE Department at UNR for eight years, when he helped build an internationally recognized program in bridge earthquake engineering. He also served as the Director of Undergraduate Research in the Office of Vice President for Research at UNR for six years. He is the founding member and former chair of ACI Committee 341, Earthquake-Resistant Concrete Bridges. He is a member of ACI318-D. He has received noteworthy, highly competitive grants, including a $2.4M NSF-NEES grants for research on innovative bridges, and was a Co-PI on an NSF-NEES $4M equipment grant. His research has also been funded by other NSF grants, FHWA, Caltrans, Nevada DOT, and State of Washington DOT, with many of the projects focused accelerated bridge construction, innovative materials, and retrofit and repair under seismic loading. Dr. Saiidi has published more than 440 journal, conference articles and reports. He has presented invited seminars about his research in 27 countries, many as a keynote speaker. Dr. Saiidi has served as the dissertation director/primary advisor for 25 Ph.D. students and as co-advisor for another five. He has also served as the thesis director/primary advisor for 45 MS students and co-advisor for another 10. He has received several awards including the UNR Outstanding Researcher Award, Regents Outstanding Researcher Award, Foundation Professorship, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Outstanding Alumni Award.


Dr. Ahmad Itani, P.E., S.E.
Co-Director, University of Nevada-Reno

Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at University or Nevada-Reno (UNR), Dr. Itani is a recognized expert in bridge analysis and design. He was member of the SFOBB seismic design panel that recommended guidelines for the seismic design of the existing and the new SFOBB. Dr. Itani has conducted large scale experiments on many California toll bridges (SFOBB, RSB, and BMB) to establish their seismic retrofit criteria. He also conducted large scale experiments to develop new seismic strategy for steel plate girder bridges that allowed inelasticity at the support cross frames. Based on this work, he collaborated with AASHTO technical committees T3 and T14 to adopt specifications that cover the seismic design of steel bridges in AASHTO design specifications and the guide specifications. He is invited regularly to present his work at AASHTO T14 and AISI Bridge Task Force. Dr. Itani was a panel member of the SFOBB eye-bar failure and other peer review committees for long span bridges. His research has been funded by Caltrans, FHWA, AISI, and NSF. He taught short courses on seismic design to many State DOTs. He was the recipient of the 2011 AASHTO/AISI Richard Fountain Award. Dr. Itani developed and teaches two bridge engineering courses at UNR and has over 250 publications between refereed journal papers, conference articles and reports.